Skip to main content
  1. Sports
  2. Recreation
  3. Water Sports

Canoe exhibit at the University of Wisconsin includes authentic handmade vessel

See also

Danielle Benden is the senior academic curator for the University of Wisconsin Anthropology Department I Madison.

More Photos

Professor Benden has an important story to share about an important discovery made by the School of Human Ecology at the university.

The story is about a “Handmade Indian Vessel” discovered by UW-Madison climate researchers in the late 1950s. The “Vessel” will be on exhibit until April 6, 2014.

However, this is only party of the story, especially since the boat is only part of an exhibit about canoes at the School of Human Ecology. Yet, according to Benden, “It’s really kind of striking” and it seemed to her that “There’s this highly important cultural backstory.”

She remarked, “It’s been like a puzzle putting tis all together. One thing led me to another to another to another.”

Perhaps the “backstory” has to do with the fact that “Eskimos built the canoe as lightweight as possible so they could more easily chase and kill fast-swimming caribou in the waters of the Northwest Territories. Now on display at a UW-Madison art gallery, the willow-ribbed vessel spotlights their genius for design with only the land to supply materials. It also tells a story of extinction.”

Reid Bryson and William Irving, both climate researchers, made regular to the Northeast Territories where the Ihalmiut Eskimo (People from Beyond) once lived and hunted caribou.

“By the time they arrived at the place where the Ihalmiut once camped, Bryson and Irving found no more people, just the canoe, a dogsled and some children’s toys made from animal bones. Some people believed they’d been relocated”

Others, including journalist Farley Mowat, belief “The small group had abandoned their camp, left their few possessions and starved to death walking in search of help”

Either way wrote Reid Bryson in 1982, “The Caribou Eskimo are gone. Starved into oblivion in our era…The world is poorer for their passing.”



  • David Price rumors
    Should the bottom-dwelling Tampa Bay Rays trade or keep pitching ace David Price?
    MLB Rumors
  • Maria Kirilenko slideshow
    Feast your eyes on the former fiance of Alex Ovechkin: The newly-single Maria Kirilenko
    20 Photos
  • Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has Alzheimer's disease, will step down
    NFL News
  • Sam responds to Dungy
    Michael Sam has the perfect response to Tony Dungy's controversial comments
    NFL News
  • Bella wardrobe malfunction
    Sexy diva Nikki Bella suffers wardrobe malfunction during WWE show
    Fight Sports
  • LeBron gives cupcakes
    LeBron James sends cupcakes to neighbors after press overtakes neighborhood
    Food & Drink

Related Videos:

  • A Living Tradition
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Paddling North (GO SIMPLE, GO SOLO, GO NOW) Audrey Sutherland
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Quickblade Paddles unveils convertible SUP – outrigger canoe paddle
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>